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Tesla S battery pack (Tesla)

Tesla won't say so itself, but its much-discussed mainstream electric Model 3 appears to be powered by a battery about 11% smaller than the tiniest offered for its showcase luxury Model S, according to researchers who have gone to work figuring it out.

Vital news for battery fanatics: At a time researchers around the world are attempting to discover a breakthrough super-battery to bring electric cars to the masses, there is unusual interest in every detail about the $35,000 Model 3, which was launched July 28.

It's not clear why Tesla and CEO Elon Musk have been all-but silent about the battery, the car's most important spec, given that they have released at least bare-bones detail as a matter of course about its other vehicles. Tesla did not respond to emails from Axios about the battery.

But Venkat Viswanathan, a professor at Carnegie-Mellon University, said the car's 220-mile version appears to be powered by a 53.5 kWh battery, just smaller than the 60 kWh version in the smallest Model S battery. The Model 3's longer-range 310-mile version appears to have a 79 kWh battery. His findings — based on the general characteristics of the Model 3 that Tesla has released — generally jibe with estimates by some Tesla observers.

Update: Tesla's EPA certification, published today at Electrek, shows that Viswanathan's team estimate was spot on.

A surprise about the Model 3: "One really interesting point is that Model 3 has among the lowest drag coefficients of all passenger sedans, let alone in this price range," Viswanathan tells Axios. The drag coefficient — how easily the car can move through the wind — is measured at 0.23, compared with .24 for the Model S, which already had among the lowest.

Why it matters: The low drag coefficient means the car gets more energy out of a relatively small battery. And the smaller battery reduces the weight and price of the car, which is Musk's goal in attempting to create a big-selling mainstream electric.

Go deeper

New York AG finds Cuomo sexually harassed women, violated state and federal law

Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

An independent investigation found that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed multiple women, including employees in his office, in violation of state and federal law, New York Attorney General Letitia James announced Tuesday.

Why it matters: Cuomo, who has denied wrongdoing and urged critics to wait for the results of the independent inquiry, will now face renewed pressure to resign. He must also determine whether he will continue his 2022 re-election campaign.

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New York City to require vaccination proof for indoor activities

New York City will require proof of vaccination to participate in indoor activities, including visiting gyms and restaurants, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Tuesday.

Why it matters: The mandate is the first of its kind for a major U.S. city, according to de Blasio. France and Italy announced similar requirements last month.

Updated 2 hours ago - Economy & Business

Exclusive: Facebook's first-ever paid movie premiere

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

For the first time ever, a film distributor will use Facebook to debut a movie exclusively via a ticketed live event, executives tell Axios.

Driving the news: "The Outsider," a controversial documentary about the construction of the 9/11 Museum in Manhattan, will premiere publicly on Facebook for $3.99 on Aug. 19.